From Frank Rich’s column in Sunday’s New York Times (28 November 2010):
As this long year lurches toward its end, we all agree that something has gone wrong in America, and we’re desperately casting about for a coherent explanation for our discontent, if not a scapegoat. …
Such is the bipartisanship of the funk that Jon Stewart and Glenn Beck each succeeded in bringing off well attended rallies in Washington to commiserate over the country’s political and governmental stagnation — with each rally offering its competing diagnosis…. Stewart’s antidote was more civility, Beck’s was more prayer. … [N]either addressed the elephant in the room — or the donkey. That would be big money — the big money that dominates our political system, regardless of who’s in power. Two years after the economic meltdown, most Americans now recognize that that money has inexorably institutionalized a caste system where everyone remains (at best) mired in economic stasis except the very wealthiest sliver.
Better than Stewart and Beck, the public seems to understand the problem:
… The most recent Times-CBS News poll found that an extraordinary 92 percent of Americans want full disclosure of campaign contributors — far many more than, say, believe in evolution.
Disclosure is a good first step, but it’s only the first step. Once the anonymous contributors who control the puppet legislators are unmasked, the next step is to cut the strings:
… America needs a rally — or, better still, a leader or two or three — to restore not just honor or sanity to its citizens but governance that’s not auctioned off to the highest bidder.